An amendment to Scotland’s Non-Domestic Rates Bill will harm investment in the student accommodation sector, the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) said on Thursday.



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The amendment would see business rates extended to what is “essentially domestic property,” said David Melhuish, the SPF’s director.

Currently, student accommodation is considered a domestic premises and is exempt from business rates.

“Inflicting an additional charge on student accommodation providers, who already pay business rates on their commercial spaces, will have a significant impact on the high-quality accommodation that this sector provides,” Melhuish said.

The amendment was introduced at Stage 2 of parliamentary scrutiny of the bill. As preparations are made for Stage 3 debate of the bill, the SPF is lobbying Holyrood to consider the damage it could cause the sector. The timing for Stage 3 of the Bill has not yet been decided.

“Business rates would strike a significant blow to this sector, deterring further investment at a time when government is seeking to support all housing tenures to alleviate growing housing pressure in Scottish university cities and towns,” Melhuish said.